Shops and Businesses

Past & Present


a Market Town in North Nottinghamshire

This is a site set up by a family history enthusiast who has an interest into shops and their owners in Retford.

I am building up from personal and local knowledge a database of details on a variety of shops and businesses from various sources. Concentrating on the past more than the present but some details have been gleaned from such places as the local papers from articles about long-time owners retiring, so some items could be of a more recent nature.

In my own lifetime I have seen many changes to the shops and streets eg: pedestrianization in the late 70’s and whereas the hub of the town once was probably the market square and the streets leading off such as Bridgegate, Carolgate and Grove Street who had an equal distribution of shops and businesses, nowadays Carolgate is the main shopping area (and the Market Square on market days).

The growth of the supermarket has had an affect as smaller individual businesses like butchers, grocers, poultry dealers, etc that once would have been prevalent disappear.
I am trying to get an overview of how the needs of Retford folk have changed over a period of time and how this reflects in the types of shops/businesses that trade/have traded here.


    I am collecting information as follows:
    Name of Shop/Business,
    Nature of Business,
    Address where operated from, any changes in address,
    Owners names if known,
    Years operated,
    Source of information.
    Other/Misc: eg: an obituary in the local paper for someone involved in the business OR a story of how that business found fame in some way – either local or national!


I know of the existence of a Grocer’s shop on Carolgate which was run by a FRED GLASBY and his son RALPH. It also seems that this FRED GLASBY’s wife was Gertrude Annie nee BAMFORTH and her father Richard was a tailor, (his brother was a baker). I remember a cake shop by the name of Bamforths. They also appeared to have a lot to do with the Congregational church which was situated on Carolgate Bridge (now demolished for the Aldi Store)


I am looking to build up a database to hopefully hold as many details about as many of the shops & business’s in RETFORD to satisfy my need for information on some of the shop keepers and their family’s (especially the GLASBY’S and BAMFORTH’S) but it may also help others in either family research or local history research to have this information together in one place.


Maybe you worked, or a member of your family worked for a shop that traded in Retford and could give me relevant details (see above for basic information I need) that would help me and save me time researching in the local papers etc to find this information; I am particularly interested in shops that no longer exist but to make a complete database am willing to include modern day businesses as well. Have there been any famous jobs done or events in the business’s history?

Someone I corresponded with remembered his Uncle working for the Iron Foundry on Albert Road and it is believed that they made the metal lamp-post fittings that are meant to represent the Spanish Armada advancing down The Mall towards Buckingham Palace and several years ago when I was in London in the summer I saw the posts for myself. I was passed some information that the lamps were made late 1950’s/1960’s and that a George Smith was the moulder and Harry Butler the Fettler.